“Publishers should see the Internet as an opportunity” – Markus Rieger, CEO of GoingPublic Media AG, in an interview
What are the challenges due to digitization for the publishing industry? And what does that mean for the job of the editor? Markus Rieger, CEO of GoingPublic Media AG, answers these and other questions in an interview with Alexander Hornikel, Senior Partner at Kloepfel Consulting.
With the GoingPublic Media AG you have extensive experience in the publishing industry. What specific tasks does the publishing work involve?
In the publishing work we have the two main areas editorial and marketing. In the course of this, for example, magazines, journals and content have to be produced, but also events have to be planned, websites optimized and newsletters sent. The various tasks, which are linked with editing and marketing, are very broad. In our case, the created journals become cross-media platforms which combine the aspects print, online, event, network and service. Nevertheless, each of these aspects is crucial for the benefits of the platform. For example, we try to find appropriate events for our readers, in order to promote the feeling of network. And events also have a high priority for us as a company, because, in contrast to pure editorial work, we can benefit and learn from direct communication with our readers. Our task as a specialist publisher is basically to offer our readers a cross-media information platform that, in addition to pure information, also includes network potential.
Digitization creates completely new challenges for the publishing industry. How strong do you perceive the development away from print media to online media?
The mentioned development is initially due to a changed user behavior. There is a radical change in the way we search for information. Today the Internet allows us to find extensive information on almost any topic. Print media cannot provide this level of content or only partially, which is why people use them less often. The development cannot be denied, but we as publishers should see the Internet as an opportunity and not as a threat.
Against the background of print-digital change: Can traditional business models of publishers survive in the near future?
Change has always been part of it. That was two hundred years ago and still applies today. The needs of our readers are changing, so we have to change as well. To accept the urge for development is compulsory in order to be successful nowadays. But who stops and does not tolerate the changes will certainly not survive. So the answer is yes, traditional publisher business models can survive, but only on the premise that they are constantly adapted.
In my opinion, it is even likely that print will see a recovery in the future. Business models of online media are largely based on advertising. But the consumer, plagued by overstimulation, is barely receptive for advertising on the Internet and finds it annoying or even ignores it. Interestingly, this is not the case in magazines. The result of many readers’ studies is that printings can still transport, especially image advertisings way better via brands, colors and slogans.
Which measures do you use to adapt to the digital transformation?
We try to place our titles not only as pure print offers, but to combine print, online and event. In the online area, there are, of course, various other options to meet the digital change. For example, each of our editions is also available as an E-variant. Not as a PDF, but as an actual e-magazine, where you can online flip through. And again, we put the factor of communication in the foreground. Readers can directly write an e-mail to the respective author and declare their views.
Of course, the classic online measures such as newsletters and websites are also part of our repertoire. A fitting example of a hybrid offer between online and print is our M & A review. A subscription to this magazine costs about 400 euros and includes ten printed editions and access to an online archive, which dates back thirty years. If you are not interested in the printed material, you have to pay less. This is how we combine Print & Online and at the same time offer our readers a high degree of flexibility.
How is the job description of the editor changing?
Editors are facing new challenges today and in the future. The media world is currently experiencing an exciting development, which of course is strongly influenced by digitization. Editors must for e.g. pass SEO trainings and learn what is important in the “new” media world. The actual challenges are very individual, as there are huge differences between TV, radio, print and online editors. Every editor must therefore inform and adapt himself according to his industry.
How does the organizational structure of your publishing house look?
We have various publishing directors who are responsible for individual profit centers. These profit centers are our individual and unique platforms, which include the magazine, the website and online activities. The publishing directors are responsible for marketing as well as editing in their area. The advantage of this is that each platform can precisely bundle the knowledge about their respective topic. However, this sometimes results in less communication. In the future, we plan to promote the issue of inter-editorial cooperation more.
Are there any plans for the foundation of other journals?
We intend to initially work actively with our existing portfolio. Of course, we are constantly observing the media landscape and exploring the potential for media purchases and sales. However, we have pushed our own founding of new formats into the background.
Thank you for the interview!
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